A snowstorm and a chainsaw… not exactly the first thought in my head


A friend of mine posted on Facebook the other day. Post made me laugh… then it made me think.

The laughter part was the first reaction, and reading it still makes me chuckle. Snow was falling, and had reached roughly a foot in height already.

(It’s here in our story that I should point out she posted this in September. And probably should add that she lives in Alaska. Back to the story…)

The kids were home because of the snow… the snow was continuing to fall… and a tree was blocking the driveway.

Hey… ha ha… life in beautiful Alaska. It might seem like a cold winter is ramping up for the northeast… and maybe the leaves had begun turning a bit early before holding off for what appears to be a beautiful and timely oncoming October foliage… but, yeah, we’re not wading through a foot-plus of snow to pick apples.

I commented on the post, made fun of her a bit while exchanging some comments, and moved along.

That’s when the chainsaw that had been rattling around came to the forefront and connected with something.

See… I have a chainsaw. Used it a few times. I’ve felled trees. (Felled. That’s a strange word. Who the heck came up with that? Fall… fallen… falls… felled? I’m not even sure if I’m using it properly. Especially since even though autocorrect seems to agree with it, that’s hardly a ringing and trustworthy endorsement of proper grammar or use. (Use? Usage? Argh…) Anyway…) I’ve cut down a few trees. Cleared some parts of the yard. Worked on a pile of logs to make firewood and all sorts of lovely projects.

At this point in my life though, I’ve never had to use a chainsaw on something across my driveway. In the yard… yes. Seen trees take down power lines and block roads, all fortunately not at my home… sure. But I cannot recall a tree that had fallen in such a way, was in my yard, and was large enough that I needed to break out the chainsaw to clear the driveway.

Amazingly though, we need to go back to her post. Remember… not only was a tree blocking her driveway, it was also spotted around sunrise after one of those majestic, beautiful, perfectly normal and likely everyday Alaskan overnight drops of a foot of snow. My first impulse? I had commented on the snow and the kids being around.

I’m guessing that if you’ve been around snow a few times in your life, you’ve probably encountered those lovely mornings of inconvenience. And if you happen to be of working age, and not just young enough that you are waking up and hoping upon hope that school will be cancelled so you can go outside and try to build a fort out of fluffy snow that won’t stick together, you may have debated the use of a weather-related call out as opposed to waking up extra early to shovel.

Ok… so work is at 9am… takes an hour to get there, especially since the roads may be a bit iffy after the storm… and then there’s a shower, breakfast, taking care of the dogs, and… normally the alarm goes off around 7.

Need to shovel the driveway? Break out the snow blower? (Ahh… excuse me… snow thrower. Who came up with that one? Does anyone actually say snow thrower? That’s got to be worse than remembering whether or not you felled a tree. Doesn’t matter right now, you still need to get up at least an extra hour ahead of usual to clean off the car.)

There you are, in a warm bed, figuring there won’t be much traffic on the road since most normal people called out and slept in, and you could probably pick up enough speed so that after clearing just enough off the windshield you could navigate onto the road and then be able to pick up speed to get the rest of the snow blown off the car.

(Full disclosure… I completely clear off our cars before hitting the road. Even the roofs. I am taking some literary freedoms for fun. Ok? We all know people that don’t clean off the entire car, and the bed was really, really toasty.)

Suffice to say that after possibly creating another 20 minutes of sleep on a morning when you began by losing an hour of it, new up there in Alaska, for giggles, my friend added in a tree across the driveway.

Blocking the driveway? Probably not a branch or a skinny little thing. Probably a project.

Honestly, firing up the snow blower is one thing. If I had to break out the chainsaw and wade through a mountain of snow to get to a tree, cut that tree, and clear it away before I could even really use the snow blower… well… I’d give up and likely hope we had enough food to make it to the spring thaw.

All of which is a nice way of understanding why I can watch a show like Mountain Men, think about how beautiful it would be to build a cabin on my own and stay there for a bit, and never, ever, will actually do it.

Because there are limits… and trudging through a foot of snow with a chainsaw is on the far side of the line in the concept of things I’d do to get to work.

That falling snow is beautiful. (Especially when viewed through a window, sitting in a chair with a blanket covering you, and with a warm mug in your hands.)

If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com